James Madison Papers

David Bailie Warden to James Monroe, 10 June 1814

David Bailie Warden to James Monroe


Paris, 10 June, 1814.


I have the honor of communicating to you a copy of my correspondence with mr. Crawford to serve as a defence of my determination to wait for your official instructions with respect to my Consular powers.1 My removal from office, in the manner which I have described appeared to me to be an abuse of delegated authority: for if mr. Crawfords powers in relation to me were discretionary, as would appear by his acknowledgement to mr. Carrol, I must have been guilty of some illegal act, in order to justify at present the application of those powers. The decision against me seems to have been provoked by the note which I addressed to him, on the 26th of last month concerning several american consular signs exhibited at Paris; for on the following day, he announced his authorisation to suspend me. On this, and other important circumstances is my determination grounded. 1°. Mr. Crawford has refused to communicate to me neither the original, nor a certified copy of the orders concerning my removal from office.2 2°. He has proposed to annull my powers at a moment when he himself has no powers: when all his ministerial functions, in consequence of the late change of government, are entirely suspended. Under such circumstances and exertions, and [sic] faithful Servant of the Republic is surely entitled to the right of petition; and especially after having furnished, what he believes to be a satisfactory answer to the two points of accusation now presented against him. The inclosed document will serve as the proof of my assertion concerning mr. Barnetts’ employment.3 If I had any duties as Consul, the care, protection, and liberation of Seamen devolved upon me. In this line mr. Barnet acted by the authority of the minister and, therefore, I am justified in my assertion concerning him. It is well-known, that he has been regularly employed in the business of american Seamen: their letters, which I delivered to mr. Crawford, by his own instructions, in December last, afford ample proof of this fact; if any other were necessary than his frequent visits to the french bureauxe demanding information in the quality of Consul, and in the name of the American minister at Paris. On the 1st of September, 1813, I exhibited proof to mr. Crawford, that mr. Barnet, had, in violation of the Laws of the United States, deliverd american passports to several subjects of His Brittanic majesty long detained as hostages in france. It is proper to inform you, Sir, that although I have determined to retain the seals, untill I hear from you, yet from respect to the government, I will not legalize a document, nor execute any act as Consul. I suspended my functions on the 6th Instant, on the receipt of mr. Crawfords’ letter. I am, Sir, very respectfully &

David Bailie Warden

Tr and Tr of enclosures (DLC); Tr and Tr of enclosures (DLC: Jefferson Papers); Tr and Tr of enclosures (NHi: Gallatin Papers). First Tr docketed by JM. For enclosures, see nn. 1 and 3.

1Warden enclosed a copy of his 6 June 1814 letter to William Harris Crawford (6 pp.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Warden), written in response to an undated one to him from Crawford, delivered on 31 May 1814, removing him from the office of U.S. consul at Paris in accord with instructions received from Monroe. Warden wrote that he had turned over his official papers relating to claims but retained the seals of office, arguing that this would not disrupt any pressing business, and that it was his “duty” to await an “official Communication” from the U.S. government regarding his removal. He challenged Crawford’s authority to dismiss him, defended his own conduct, observed that Crawford’s “repulsive manner” towards him had caused him to limit his interactions with government officials, and declared his conviction that a plot had been made to ruin him.

2Filed with Warden’s 6 June 1814 letter to Crawford is a copy of Warden to Monroe, 12 June 1814 (1 p.; docketed by JM: “Warden D. B. June 6–12. 1814”), stating that James A. Bayard had seen the instructions for Warden’s removal from office and communicated this fact to Warden, in consequence of which Warden “cease[d] from Consular functions” but would await additional instructions at Paris.

3Warden evidently enclosed a copy of a 25 Aug. 1813 note, presumably to Warden, from Isaac Cox Barnet (1 p.), stating that “William Paines’ letter to the american minister of the 30th of July last has been put into my hands by His Excellency Mr. Crawford, who has requested me to prepare a list of the americans detained as Prisoners of war, and I hope Paine will get liberated to serve in a privateer of the United States’. If he will go of preference into the french Service he must apply to others.”

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